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Devices sprout ears: What do Alexa and Siri mean for privacy?
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor, January 14, 2017
Posted: January 30th, 2017

Between your laptop, smartphone, smart TV, and perhaps a virtual assistant, how many microphones are in your home? The number of households with a hands-free assistant is growing by millions each year, but their convenience may come at a price. With law enforcement already using smart-device collected data as evidence, digital privacy rights are becoming more important. Amazons ... Echo family of devices are all variations on the theme of a smart speaker that can listen to, understand, and respond to voice commands. Like Siris implementation in recent iOS devices ... the device is always listening, so you dont have to put down what youre doing and find your phone to get an answer. But some worry theres a fine line between always listening, and always recording. Are we truly alone when were with our devices? Amazon maintains a database of your conversations with the Echo. Police in Bentonville, Ark. have already submitted a search warrant for audio recordings, transcribed records, and other text records from the Echo of 2015 murder suspect James Andrew Bates. Amazon refused to turn over data from its servers beyond basic account information, [but] this case should be a wake-up call. The Fourth Amendment establishes the sanctity of the home, which prevents law enforcement from an unjustified search of a house. The third-party doctrine, [however] permits police to access information voluntarily shared with a third party such as your bank or phone company, even without a warrant.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing privacy news articles from reliable major media sources.

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